Road safety this Easter

2016-03-24 06:00

AS people embark on their Easter holiday trips, a number of accidents have already occurred on South Coast roads.

Robert McKenzie, spokesperson for KZN EMS said fatigue is one of the greatest causes of road-trip crashes, so forward planning is essential.

“Make sure you stop and take a break every two hours or every 200 kilometres and get a good night’s sleep the night before the trip,” he said.

“If you are feeling tired before your next stop, pull over and take a break,” he added.

When travelling with children, using a car seat is of utmost importance. It is a misconception that an adult will be able to hold onto a child in a crash, and even if they did manage to hold onto the child, their arms wouldn’t provide adequate protection.

“The forces involved during a crash are massive and devastating. These forces act differently on children, which have several anatomic and physiological differences compared to adults,” he said.

He said children have larger heads and certain organs in proportion to their body size compared to adults.

Their musculoskeletal system is still developing and their bones are softer, this allows forces from the crash to be easier transmitted to the vital organs.

“A child’s smaller size also allows them to be thrown around inside the vehicle easier during a crash,” added McKenzie.

Child seats, whether they are carry chairs, child seats or booster seats, protect the child in the following ways:

• they keep the child secured in the car and prevents them from being flung around in the car. The seat also prevents the child from being ejected from the vehicle; and

• the multipoint straps distribute the force of the crash over a greater area and head rest and sides of the seats also provide physical protection to the child.

It’s vital that the correct size and type of seat is used according to the child’s age, that the seat is secured with the cars seat belt and that the stapes over the child are the correct tightness.

“The road worthiness of your vehicle also needs to be checked before the journey as well as the condition of the spare tyre,” he said.

He said make sure there is a jack and wheel spanner and that the wheel spanner fit the nuts on the wheel.

“Don’t forget your medication, if you take chronic medication and charge you cellphone before the trip.”

It was also important to carry some form of identification and documentation with family contact details, so that emergency services can contact family or know who to contact if there is an incident, said McKenzie.

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